Eating well with Canada's Food Guide

Canada has a new Food Guide!

Canada’s Food Guide is an eating plan to help children, teens and adults make healthy food choices. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide was created by Health Canada and replaces the 1992 version called “Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating”.  The current Food Guide is under review and a new version will be coming soon.  

For a free copy of the current Food Guide, call 1-877-510-5102 or send an email.

Featured Article: 21 High Fibre Meal and Snack Ideas
Choosing foods and planning healthy meals using the Food Guide contributes to good health and may help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
Watch this video to find out how EatRight Ontario dietitians can help you with your food choices and preventing chronic disease.

Who can use Canada’s Food Guide?

The Food Guide can be used by Canadians aged 2 and over. 
Visit the popular My Menu Planner to create a personalized meal plan based on the Food Guide and your lifestyle.  

How many Food Guide Servings do I need per day? 

Use the chart below to find out.

Children Teens Adults
Age  2-3 4-8 9-13 14-18 19-50 51+
Sex Girls and Boys Girls Boys Females Males Females Males
Vegetables and Fruit 4 5 6 7 8 7-8 8-10 7 7
Grain Products 3 4 6 6 7 6-7 8 6 7
Milk and Alternatives 2 2 3-4 3-4 3-4 2 2 3 3
Meat and Alternatives 1 1 1-2 2 3 2 3 2 3

Learn about how many Food Guide Servings you need by watching these videos.  

What is a Food Guide Serving?

On the Food Guide you will see examples of how much food equals ONE Food Guide Serving. Here are some examples:

  • One slice of bread (35g)
  • ½ cup (125mL) of vegetables or fruit
  • 1 cup (250mL) of milk or fortified soy beverage
  • 75g of meat, poultry or fish 

A Food Guide Serving is a reference amount of food, decided on by Health Canada, and will be different for each type of food. 

A Food Guide Serving may also be a different amount than what you put on your plate (which is your portion).  To learn more about how to compare Food Guide servings to what you actually eat, use our interactive Food Portions Toolkit.
Order your own mini version of our interactive tool.  Call 1-877-510-5102 or send an email and ask for the “Handy Pocket Guide”.

Tips on using the Food Guide

Choose foods from each of the four food groups to help you get the nutrients you need each day. Do not avoid foods from an entire food group as you may miss out on some key nutrients.  If you are avoiding foods or are not sure how to get all the foods and nutrients you need, our dietitians can help.  

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Choose dark green vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, kale and spinach. Select orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash.  Take our Fruit and Vegetable Challenge.
  • Limit how much juice you drink.  The whole fruit and vegetable has more vitamins, minerals and fibre. 
Crispy Kale Chips
Asparagus and Tomato Salad
Mac and “Squeese”

Grain Products

Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day. Here are some tasty whole grains to try: barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice. Look for whole grain breads, pastas, grain blends and hot cereals.
Vegetable Quinoa Salad
Chicken Bulgur Salad
Adzuki Bean Muesli

Milk and Alternatives

  • Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.
  • To get enough vitamin D, drink 2 cups of milk or fortified soy beverage each day.
Quark and Berries Parfait
Very Merry Berry Smoothie Bowl

Meat and Alternatives

  • Have fibre and protein rich meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds and tofu often.
  • Eat omega-3 rich fish two times a week including char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout.
  • Eat luncheon meats, sausages and pre-packaged meats less often and choose those that are lower in salt and fat.

Potato Patties
Sweet Chili Tofu Stir-Fry
Tuna Grilled Cheese

More Tips from the Food Guide

  • Oils and Fats: Include 30 to 40mL (2 to 3 tablespoons) of unsaturated fat each day such as canola or olive oil.
  • Physical activity: Canada’s Physical Activity Guide recommends at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for children and youth. The Guide also recommends a total of 2.5 hours of activity per week for adults.
  • Limit foods that are high in sugar, salt and sodium like desserts, chocolate and candies, cookies and granola bars, doughnuts and muffins, ice cream, French fries, potato chips, nachos, alcohol, fruit flavoured drinks, pop, sports and energy drinks, and sweetened hot drinks.

The Food Guide is available in many different languages.  Call or email to order a copy in French, Chinese, Farsi, Spanish, Punjabi, Urdu, Tamil, Arabic, Korean, Russian and Tagalog.  Food Guides for First Nations communities are also available. 

You may also be interested in:

Quiz on Food Guide Servings
Video: Size up your Food Portions
Food Portions Toolkit


Last Update – October 18, 2017

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If you have questions about what you've read here, or other questions about food, nutrition or healthy eating, click to email our Registered Dietitians or call 1-877-510-5102.